DETROIT - Dominik Hasek, the unrelenting goaltender known as the Dominator, announced his retirement yesterday, saying he lacked the motivation for a 17th season.
"I don't feel today that I'm ready to compete on the highest level," Hasek said at Joe Louis Arena. "Not because of the physical things, but because I need motivation every day. Right now I don't feel it's there, and I don't want to disappoint anybody."
Hasek's announcement came only days after the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup in six games over Pittsburgh.
Detroit general manager Ken Holland said Hasek's place in history is secured, calling him not only one of the greatest goalies of his era - along with Patrick Roy and Martin Brodeur - but also one of the best all-time.
"He's a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer," Holland said. "And, one of the greatest goaltenders to ever play the game."
The six-time Vezina Trophy winner as the NHL's top goaltender and two-time Hart Trophy winner as the league's MVP leaves on a mixed note.
Hasek, the only goalie ever to win the NHL MVP award twice, lost his job during Detroit's run to the Cup. The 43-year-old from the Czech Republic was benched during the opening-round series in favor of Chris Osgood and never regained the starting job.
"I am leaving this game feeling very, very happy because of all the memories and all the friendships I have made with all of you," he said.
Holland said he didn't try to persuade Hasek to return for another season after Hasek informed him of the decision.
Hasek won 389 games with the Red Wings, Ottawa Senators, Buffalo Sabres and Chicago Blackhawks, who drafted him in the 10th round in 1983 and had to wait until the 1990-91 season to get him on the ice. Chicago kept him just two seasons, then watched him become one of the game's greats in Buffalo.
Hasek ranks 10th all-time in wins, 10th in goals-against average, 18th in games and is tied for sixth in shutouts.
He won 65 playoff games - including 16 in 2002 when he won his first Stanley Cup by helping Detroit win it all.
Hasek led the Czech Republic to gold at the 1998 Nagano Olympics.
During this past regular season, he won 27 games and had a 2.14 goals-against average while alternating with Osgood in net.
After an injury-shortened season with the Senators, Hasek returned to the Red Wings two years ago.
He signed a one-year contract worth $750,000 in 2006 and made $900,000 in bonuses. He chose to stick around last summer with a one-year contract worth more than $2 million.